All you need to know about Eid-ul-Fitr

The day is majorly focused on giving of alms to the poor, or zakat.

In Summary

• Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of the holy month of Ramadhan.

• It is celebrate for three days, and on the morning of the first day, Muslims gather for prayer.

Muslims during a past Eid al-Fitr prayers at Tononoka grounds in Mombasa
Muslims during a past Eid al-Fitr prayers at Tononoka grounds in Mombasa
Image: FILE

Eid-ul-Fitr means "festival of breaking the fast" and marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Traditionally, Eid is celebrated for three days as an official holiday in all Muslim-majority countries. However, the number of vacation days varies by country.

In Kenya, the government declared Wednesday a public holiday to allow Muslims celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday.


How is the start of Eid determined?

Imam Habib Mohamed tells the star in a phone interview that Eid depends on the first sighting of the new moon.

He says Eid celebrations began either on Tuesday June 4) or Wednesday June 5 around the world.

“We have to wait until the night before Eid to verify its date. When the sighting is verified by specific local moon sighters, Eid is declared on televisions, radio stations and at mosques,”he says.

Countries like Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) began celebrating Eid al Fitr today.

Yemen will bring a close to the holy fasting month of Ramadan and begin celebrating Eid al-Fitr on Wednesday.

How do Muslims celebrate Eid?

Muslims across the world begin Eid celebrations by partaking in prayers, followed by a short sermon soon after dawn. 

Imam Habib says prayers can take place in  mosques, large halls or in open places.

He says the day is majorly focused on giving of alms to the poor, or zakat, which is one of the five pillars of Islam.

“Even the most poor people have something they can donate to orphans, disabled or sick people,”he says.


On the first day of Eid al-Fitr, voluntary fasting is not allowed as Muslims are encouraged to feast and celebrate the completion of a month of worship and abstinence from food.

Imam Mohamed says some families visit graveyards to offer their respects to family members who have departed.

What are common Eid greetings?

The most popular greeting is "Eid Mubarak" (Blessed Eid) or "Eid sa'id" (Happy Eid).

Research shows, Eid greetings also vary depending on the country and the language.

For instance, in Indonesia, Eid is called Lebaran, so Indonesians would say, "Selamat Lebaran", which means Happy Eid. Other variations of Happy Eid are "Mutlu Bayramlar" in Turkish and "Barka da Sallah" in Hausa, a Nigerian language.

Traditions associated with Eid

Each country has a set of customs associated with Eid. 

Generally, Muslims prepare for Eid prayer by taking a shower and dressing in new clothes.

With clothes being an important marker of Eid, some people wear traditional clothes from their culture, while others pick out something new to wear. 

Muslims are also encouraged to eat something sweet, usually dates, before heading to the Eid prayers.

On their way to the prayer, traditionally held in an open area, Muslims recite takbeerat, praising God by saying "Allahu Akbar", meaning God is great.

Following the prayer, family elders distribute cash or gifts to the children.

After 2 months, Muslims will gather to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha  where sacrifices of animals are made and feasted to celebrate the sacrifice Ibrahim (Abraham) was willing to make to Allah.